Category Archives: Devotional

Insured

TODAY’S VERSE
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
Jude 1:24 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
We insure ourselves in so many ways. We buy insurance for our cars and homes. We buy medical insurance, dental insurance and disability insurance. But perhaps the greatest insurance of all was paid for by Jesus Christ. He knew the risks. Sin happens. Yet He loved us so much that He did everything needed to make sure we are covered, so no matter what, He will bring us, with great joy, into God’s glorious presence without a single fault! No wonder Paul says, “All glory to God!” That should be the response of our heart too. So today, Praise Him for saving you and for insuring your place in Heaven for all eternity.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, thank You for the sacrifice of Your dear Son, my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You that You will keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into Your glorious presence without a single fault.
AMEN

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Join us on TWITTER for our NEW DAILY PERSONALIZED BIBLE AFFIRMATION

We are doing a new devotional ministry you may be interested in. We already do MOMENT IN THE WORD a daily devotional.
Now we are going on Twitter featuring a daily Personalized Bible Affirmation taken from our own Personalized Bible Paraphrase. Each day you will find the verses inspirational and written in a way that helps you personally pray them. Go to twitter and follow us @ronovitt

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Light Your Corner of the World

Light Your Corner of the World

TODAY’S VERSE
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14

TODAY’S THOUGHT
I love synergy. That is the result of different entities working together to create a bigger response than they could by themselves. Have you ever been to a “candle light sing”, when at the end of the service one candle is lit and one by one each candle in the auditorium sends forth its illumination? What a beautiful site. How amazing that one little candle can be part of such brightness. This is the effect Jesus had in mind when He said that we were the “light of the world”. He was leaving this world and with the power of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives we would each shine our own light. Together we would become the light of the world. Dallas Willard in his book “Hearing God” writes, “Those who receive the grace of God’s saving companionship in His word are by that very fact also fitted to show humankind how to live.  Collectively the ‘called out’ people of God, the church is empowered to stand up for wandering humanity to see. When faced with starvation, crime, economic disasters and difficulties, disease, loneliness, alienation and war, the church should be, because it alone could be, the certified authority on how to live to which the world looks for answers.” We are called to be the light where we are. Today, come to Him, bring Him your candle; let Him light it for you and then light up your corner of the world. I’ll light mine. If everyone reading this devotional would let Christ light their light, someone is bound to be effected. There are people all around us dying to come out of the darkness.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, speak to me, ignite my heart and then help me shine that light today. Help me share the light that I have with those hurting in utter darkness so they too can live in the light of your love and glory.
AMEN

The Fruit Of The Spirit

The Fruit Of The Spirit

TODAY’S VERSE
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

TODAY’S THOUGHT
When I think of our human propensity for anger, confusion, impatience, harshness, lack of control and impulsiveness, I am amazed at God’s solution. Our humanness, a result of man’s fallen condition, has been trumped by God’s Holy Spirit. What a plan. God gives us a body in which we house our personality with enough room for His Holy Spirit. The result is the ability for the Holy Spirit to produce in us new attitudes, motivations and behaviors. Paul calls it fruit. What a great analogy – the Holy Spirit alive in us, growing into a beautiful fruit tree. The fruit that the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. You don’t have to make an apple tree produce apples. When watered, nourished and receiving adequate sunlight an apple tree produces beautiful luscious apples. Likewise, you don’t have to manufacture the fruit of the Spirit; rather, you begin reading and meditating on His Holy word and spending time in relationship with God through confession and prayer and the Holy Spirit will generate the results. Begin today to nourish your Spiritual life and let the Holy Spirit produce its fruit.

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, I desire the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be evident in my life. Help me to read and meditate on your word. Help me to relate to you in prayer and confession. Help me, Holy Spirit, live the life you want me to. Produce your fruit in my life, even today.
AMEN

Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Wisdom

SPIRITUAL GIFT OF WISDOM

Please read the following  Spiritual Gift of Wisdom description and then rate yourself on a scale of 1 through 5 both in passion and experience. This is to help you from ignoring a gift God may have for you. For example, you may be high in passion in the gift of  “healing” but as of yet God has not manifested Himself in that way to you. If all you rated was experience you may skip over this very important passion God has given you. Likewise, if you are deeply involved in “service” but are more pragmatic and less passionate about it you may be tempted to ignore developing the gift of service in the way God wants you to.

Rate Your Passion For This Gift

The first rating has to do with your passion for the gift. Are you really motivated to act this way? 1 means that you have no interest in or passion to use the gift. 5 means that the definition describes you very accurately, or that you do have a strong interest/passion in the ability.

Next Rate Your Experience With or Evidence For This Gift

The second rating has to do with your experience/evidence of the gift. Rate your experience with or evidence of the gift.

1 means that you have no experience with or evidence of the gift. 5 means that you have a lot of experience with or evidence of the gift.

SPIRITUAL GIFT OF  WISDOM

In I Corinthians 12:8 Paul writes, “To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom” (NIV). The Biblical use of the word wisdom puts the emphasis on the thought process that takes the scriptures and makes an intelligent application to a life situation. The result is insight which allows one to exercise sound judgment. To have the gift of wisdom then is to be able to apply Biblical, spiritual knowledge to living a Godly life. It is also being able to make scriptural truths relevant and practical in everyday living and decision-making. The “message of wisdom” is being able to know the mind of Christ and His word as it pertains to specific situations.
A person with this gift loves to read, meditate and commune with God, drawing wisdom that applies the scriptures to everyday living. It is similar to a mechanic being able to hear a car run and know what is wrong and how to fix it. They are wise in automobile mechanics. This gift allows a person to “hear” life situations and apply truth to the situation.

Benefits
This gift helps people with the many needs in their life. From childrearing to career planning, relationships to personal emotional issues, we need to hear the word of God.

Pitfalls
It is easy to become simplistic in administering God’s word to people’s problems. There is also a temptation to minister with just human wisdom, ignoring the Biblical wisdom. We can burn out and stop listening to people and just give advice or “fake it” when we are not sure what to say. Finally, we need to guard against pride that can often come with being “wise”.

Ministry Opportunities
Wisdom can be applied to many different ministries. Wherever people need to increase their understanding, there is a need for wisdom. Counseling, problem-solving, teaching, leadership are just a few of the areas of ministry.

Further Training
This gift can be enhanced through Bible study, education in any of the people helping skills through college, conferences, seminars or certification. Having a mentor will help in some areas.

RATE YOURSELF ON THE GIFT OF WISDOM

Passion
Using a  scale of  1 – 5, rate whether you have a passion for wisdom.
(1 = Not at all, 5 = Very much so)

Passion Score ______

Experience/Evidence
Using a  scale of  1 – 5, rate whether you have had significant testimony from others as evidence of the gift of wisdom.
(1 = Not at all, 5 = Very much so)

Experience/Evidence Score __

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How to Rate Your Score
 To be more accurate on the Spiritual Gift you need to look both at your passion with the gift and the experience with or evidence of the gift. If your passion is 3 – 5 then it is high. If your passion is 1 – 2 then it is low. It is the same with the experience where you rate evidence of the gift in your life. Is the experience/evidence high (3 – 5) or is it low (1 – 2)?

Plot your scores on the grid
 Notice that Experience/Evidence is on the vertical axis and Passion is on the horizontal axis. So an Experience/Evidence score of  3 and a Passion score of 2 and would be in the number 2 quadrant.

Quadrants

Quadrant 1 = High Passion and High Experience/Evidence
A Spiritual Gift that is in this quadrant seems to be one that God has given you. You are passionate about the gift and have experience and evidence in your life that seems to confirm this. Continue to grow in this gift and use it for His glory.

Quadrant 2 = Low Passion and High Experience/Evidence
A Spiritual Gift in this quadrant may indicate that circumstances have called upon you to exhibit this skill or ministry in your life. For example you don’t have to have a high Passion to be merciful to those that are hungry around you. However, your church may have a large feeding program. Just because you are recruited and spend a lot of time doesn’t mean that you have the Gift of Mercy. Rather it simply could mean that you were obedient to God by helping with a need.

Quadrant 3 = High Passion and Low Experience/Evidence
Scoring in this quadrant is common among the Supernatural gifts. Healing, faith, miracles – you may feel really burdened in situations to pray for God’s intervention in mighty ways. You pray believing and trusting that God can and will act. If this is true then you must rate yourself high on Passion. However, though you are passionate in your praying for healing your experience may not be successful. You would rate your experience/evidence score low. However, this does not mean give up. It is just an indicator of your personal experience up to this moment in time. If God moves in your heart you deeply to pray for the supernatural let Him take care of the results. It is better to pray believing and not see the results you anticipated than to be disobedient and not pray. God has given you the gift, He will use it according to His will. Be faithful to the passion He has given you.

Quadrant 4 = Low Passion and Low Experience/Evidence
A score in this quadrant is usually a good indicator that God, up to this point in time, has not birthed in you this Spiritual Gift. This does not mean that in time God may call upon you to work in this area. God can give any gift at any time. He is sovereign.

Now that you have finished this self-assessment, how do you feel about your discovery? Were you surprised or did you find the answer that you expected?  Are you intimidated by the significance of the gift and what God may expect from you or are you confident that God has and will continue to use you in this way?
One way to confirm your findings is to ask those Godly people that know you well. Ask them to read the definitions of the gifts that you selected and confirm whether they see this same gift in your life or not. Ask them what they think you need to improve on. Ask them to pray for you that you may have understanding and wisdom in using these gifts.
Another way to grow in your gift is to report to the member of your pastoral staff at church that would be in charge of volunteers in the church. Share with them your discovery and ask them for materials to study and opportunities for service. Perhaps there is someone that they know that could mentor you in this gift.
Finally, seek out others in your church that have the same gift(s). Meet regularly as a group to learn, share stories and pray for each other. As a church, you function as a body of believers. You were given these gifts to help each other. There is no limit to what God could do as you and the others in your church are Spirit-led in the use of these gifts.

What are some ways that you can use your gifts? You can find out more about this in our workbook Wired For Ministry  CLICK HERE to preview Wired for Ministry.

Want to know more about Spiritual Gifts? CLICK HERE for a FREE Spiritual Gifts Survey

Besides Spiritual Gifts, Using Our Talents and Abilities

Many authors go through the Bible and list every act of service or talent that God uses in a person and include it in their list of Spiritual gifts. Some have thirty or more “gifts” on their list. These include craftsmanship, music, singleness, missionary, suffering and others. But why stop there? Certainly God is a creative God and has used many talents today that were not around in the New Testament times. What about computer skills, recreation leader or Christian camping?
 Although there are many talents and abilities that would fall into the wider use of the definition of spiritual gifts, this workbook examines the Pauline writings on the subject. Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote the epistles and he set out to specifically write on the issue of Spiritual gifts. We want to examine his list of gifts.
 So what about all the other talents, abilities and gifts that you and others may have? I would think that they would fall under Paul’s teaching in Romans 12:1 to “present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.” We should present our bodies, mind, emotions, skills, talents, abilities, aspirations and possessions – all to God for His service.

You Are Wired With A Purpose

 Why am I here? What is the meaning of my life? How can I find significance? These questions are basic to our life experience. Knowing what ministries we were created for helps answer these questions. It is the compass that gives us direction in our journey. The Bible teaches that God has created us and knows us personally. Jesus illustrated this concept when He used the metaphor of the shepherd and his sheep. He said that the shepherd “called” each sheep by name. Isaiah writes about this in the Old Testament. The prophet writes: 

 Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of  my name.
  
   Bring…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
  
 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
(Isaiah 49:1, 6, 15 )

 More specifically, the Bible teaches that God has created you and I with a purpose. This purpose is seen our ministry in life which was perfectly exemplified in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 22: 36 the Pharisees asked Jesus, what was the greatest commandment? Another way to say this is, “What is it that God wants us to do the most?” Jesus answered them saying:

 Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

 Jesus not only “said” these words, but we know from reading the New Testament that Jesus “lived” these words. Even better, God has made it possible for you and I to live them too! This is the miracle of Christianity; the fact that God can take you and I, who so often separate ourselves from Him, wanting nothing to do with His control in our life, and can bring us into a wonderful relationship with Himself. That is what Jesus is all about. His life was an example of our ministry and His death and resurrection was the bridge bringing us and God together. When we realize our need for God and come to Him in repentance and accept Him as our Savior we began our relationship with Christ. This is the first step in living out ministry. Jesus called it, “being born-again.” This is when we  accept the new life that He has for us and His invitation to join Him in His work in this world.

 The question is how do we live out this ministry that Jesus talked about? How do we “love God with all our heart, soul and mind and love our neighbor as ourself”? We do it by being aware of His presence in our life, the love He has for us, and the power that He wants to use in our life. This moves our heart, soul and mind into action. We then love our neighbor by serving God with everything we have and in everything we do. We have defined “ministry” as follows:

Ministry is to live with the awareness of the presence, love and power of the risen Christ; using our person, gifts and skills to serve Him in everything we do.
 

To Live With The Awareness Of The Presence, Love and Power of the Risen Christ
 The first stage in our ministry in this life is to come into the awareness that we are living for God. Not just a god but the living God. What a difference. We are not living out some religious experience but are entered into a relationship with the risen Christ. So often we treat Jesus like some historic figure. We meet on Sundays to remember His death, we sing His praises for what He has done and then we go about our week as if His present risen-ness has no bearing on our lives. A very important part of our ministry in this world is to have a vital relationship with the risen Christ that influences every aspect of our life. This means to live our life in the realization that Jesus is alive. This realization should have a transforming power not only in our own psyche but in the very results of the ministry we are on. He is alive and the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is available for our ministry. Living every hour of every day in the conscious awareness of the love of Jesus gives hope and peace. This risen Jesus motivates, inspires, gives courage and leads us in the way we should go.
 
Using Our Person, Gifts and Skills
 Using our person, gifts and skills for God is a deliberate choice. It is the result of the consideration of:
All that we are, living for all that He is, in light of all that needs to be done.

 We ask ourselves, “What is my part?” “What is my role in this drama of life?” We find the answer when we come to the point where we believe that God has given us a unique combination of personality, interests, spiritual gifts and skills that we can use for Him.
 There are so many factors that make us who we are. Not only the variables but the strength, size or amount of each of the variables makes a tremendous difference in the outcome of who we are. Change one element and the end result would be skewed. Here are some of the many components that make us who we are:

Personal makeup
Genes, personality, temperament, chemistry, intelligence, birth order, physical abilities/limitations, aptitudes, and our spiritual gifts that God gives us
 
Environment
Parentage, siblings, relatives, social status, neighborhood, school, clubs, church, civic groups, sports, meaningful or tragic events in your life

Belief system
Attitudes, beliefs, motivations, yearnings, ambitions, presuppositions and perceptions
 
 There are many more components and many variations of each of them. All of these factors are important to who we are. When you take the variables, put them in different amounts and intensities, you can end up with an endless list of combinations. These combinations result in our giftedness.   
 I have always been interested in our similarity and uniqueness as human beings. Perhaps it is because I am an identical twin. I have been compared with my brother, Rod, all my life. This preoccupation with being a twin made me keenly aware of similarities and differences in individuals. As close and identical as my twin Rod and I are, as similar as our backgrounds are, we are still very different and unique individuals. We are gifted in different ways. I find great comfort in the fact that during all of my fifty some years God has never once confused me with my twin brother. I do not live out Rod’s ministry in life nor does he live out mine. God is personal to both of us. He created us as similar as any two people could ever be, and yet, I fulfill my everyday ministry through my own giftedness differently than Rod.
  As part of our call and our ministry in life, God expects us to make the world a better place through our person, gifts and skills. Paul wrote it this way to the Christians at Ephesus:

  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

 We are His workmanship! When an artisan sits at a lump of clay, he or she decides what they want to make and it becomes that very thing right before their eyes. How much more our great and loving God stopped and thought about you and I and then purposely created us for specific good works. Not massed produced, we are His workmanship! We are a unique one-of-a-kind ambassador for God to use in this world. As we respond to life with our unique personage, as we hone in on our ministry preferences and become more proficient with the skills, abilities and resources that God has given us, we will be living out our unique ministries in this life for God.
Do you know what your Spiritual Gifts are? If not, CLICK HERE to download our FREE Spiritual Gifts Workbook and Test.

Do you want to know how to use your gifts and talents for His service? If so, CLICK HERE to download your FREE copy of How Am I Wired For Ministry?

How Can I Know What Spiritual Gifts I Have?

How Can I Know What Spiritual Gifts I Have?

No single test can fully verify “everything” there is to know about your spiritual gifts. Rather, the goal of this blog is to stimulate your thinking and make you more aware of God working in your life. Our  Spiritual Gifts tests (go to www.layministry.com) will bring preferences and inclinations into your consciousness, perhaps even help clarify some of your thinking, but in order to really discern your Spiritual gifts  you will need to spend more time thinking about , praying over and using the gifts. Experience will be one of the most valuable indicators as to what Spiritual gifts you have. We are complex beings and God has given us wonderful passions and abilities. Surely it is worth some time to better understand how God has intended us to best serve Him. Here are three ways you can expand your knowledge about your own personal spiritual gifts.

1. Spend time in prayer
 You will learn more about your spiritual gifts as you spend time with God in prayer asking Him to show you your gifts. After you finish this chapter, go somewhere alone to be with God. Review your choices and ask God to give you insight.  Talk to Him about the gifts. Express any doubt, fear or frustrations you may have as a result of this chapter. Ask God for clarity and confirmation.

2. Investigate
 Investigation is key to knowing and using your spiritual gifts. Like many other things in life, the more you learn the more you find out how little you really know. Remember, these are “gifts” because they were given to us. They are not talents or abilities as we think when we say someone is a gifted athlete. This is a misnomer. Sure, there some of the gifts involve skills, talents and abilities but many of the spiritual gifts are a spiritual urge, leaning, passion or unction.
 Consider mercy. It is not a talent or ability, but rather a feeling or an urge that drives you to action. Even healing, which sounds like it is our own innate talent, is not our ability to “heal” someone. God does the healing! Instead, the gift of healing is the passion and faith a person brings to prayer when someone is sick. The urge is so strong they must pray for healing! The person with the gift of healing prays for healing because it is burning deep inside of them to do so.  God must do the healing. They have been given the spiritual “passion” of healing. Healing is not automatic, it is  under the leadership of God. For example, Paul had the gift of healing yet in I Timothy 5:23 he tells Timothy to take wine for the healing of his stomach. I imagine Paul prayed for Timothy but God did not heal him. Paul was deeply concerned for Epaphroditus and I believe he prayed for him earnestly, yet we see that God did not heal him as recorded in Philippians 2:25-27. In II Timothy 4:20 we see that Paul left Trophimus sick at Melitas. The gift of healing was not automatic but strictly under the providence of God.  As we examine scriptures further, in Matthew 13:58 we see that even Jesus could not heal in His home town because of the people’s unbelief.
 The supernatural gifts are all about the passion God puts in our hearts and the will of God in the circumstance. A person with the gift of mercy will not be moved in every circumstance they come across. Rather they learn to discern the urging of the Holy Spirit and be merciful in situations that God leads them in. For this reason when you examine the definitions of the Spiritual gifts you be asked to  rate yourself two ways. First you will rate your inward passion. Is it high, medium or low? Then you be asked to rate your experience of the gift. Is it high, medium or low? 
 This type of investigation will allow you to be your own guidance counselor. You will be able to look at the results of the survey and draw some conclusions. Then you can ask others, who you trust and know you well, to give you insight to your giftedness. Finally you can study other books and take other tests. All of this will help you learn more about you and the gifts that God has given you. 

3. Do ministry and see what happens
 There is nothing that can substitute for good old experience. Paul told Timothy to “stir up or exercise the gifts that he had.” Another way to say that is, “Get out there, try them out.” This is the best way to find out what spiritual inclinations God has really given you. Get involved in ministry and see where your passions are. If you begin to think your gift is “helps”, go and be more deliberate. Go and help some people. If “mercy”, work somewhere you can be merciful. If it is “faith”, meet with the Pastor and start to trust God for great things at the church. If “healing”, start praying earnestly for sick people. As you get more involved in ministry where you think you may have a gift, you will soon find out if this gift is indeed a deep passion from God. If it is, experience will help fuel the fire. You will feel alive, as if you found what God really wants you to do. And you have. As you continue to minister, God will help you learn about, modify and grow in your spiritual gifts.

CLICK HERE to download your  FREE copy of our Spritual Gifts Test and Workbook.

Read Today’s E-votion

Filled With the Knowledge of God 

TODAY’S VERSE

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-11

TODAY’S THOUGHT

Being filled with the knowledge of God is crucial to our Christian experience. But how does this happen? How are we filled with the knowledge of God? F.B. Meyers writes, “God’s impressions within and His word without are always corroborated by His Providence around, and we should quietly wait until those three focus into one point.” We gain knowledge as we quiet ourselves to listen to God, read His word for understanding and follow His leadings as they are played out. Dallas Willard in his book Hearing God shares, “So our union with God – His presence with us, in which our aloneness is banished and the meaning and full purpose of human existence is realized – consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as His friend and colaborer in the affairs of the kingdom of Heaven.” This is what Paul is talking about. As we listen to Him, muse on His word and practice His presence as we go about living for Him, He will give us wisdom and knowledge, the fruit of good works and all the strength and power we need.
Start today. Talk to God, read His word and converse with Him as you go about your business. Does it get any better than that?

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Father, is it true? Can I really be filled with your knowledge and wisdom? Can my life bear good works? Can I really have your strength and power in my life? This is what I desire. Please help me Lord with the discipline I need to quietly spend time listening to you and reading your word. Help me even today to converse with you throughout the day. Help me experience your presence. I pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ my Savior.
AMEN

_____________________________________________________

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Do You Know What Your Spiritual Gifts Are?
Now You Can.
CLICK HERE to Get your FREE Spiritual GIfts Test and Workbook
Do you want to know how to be a Child of God? CLICK HERE to find out how.